Saturday, December 13, 2014

'Tis the Season for Toddy's!

I know it seems like I've totally abandoned this blog. I haven't. It's true that I've done way less cooking since I made the move to San Francisco (thanks for nothing, crappy electric stove), but I also pride myself in only posting recipes here that I really love and would make again and again. Unfortunately, most of the new things I've tried of late have been huge disappointments. That amazing slow cooker chicken tikka masala—it sucked. The world's best cookies guaranteed to stop a 2 year old from crying—not so much. The delicious looking asian chicken soup—not delicious tasting.  I guess it left me feeling kind of uninspired and I found myself turning away from the kitchen, which has been a place I've always loved. 

This feeling was kind of weird and sad, and I wondered how I could rekindle my love of cooking (even though I will continue to hate my electric stove). I needed some kind of inspiration to want me to get back in the kitchen. Sometimes inspiration comes from unlikely places. For me it was the Pineapple Express. Good lord, not the movie. If that were the case, this would be a blog post about spaghetti-o cupcakes with velveeta frosting and curly fries of top. No, I'm talking about the "strongest storm in terms of wind and rain instensity since October 2009." Apparently for people living in the Bay Area, this translates to cancel all the schools, close the bridges, and shutter yourself indoors. 

As a girl who grew up in the southeast who weathered many a hurricane, this seemed flat out silly to me. But who's going to turn down a "snow day"?! Not me! In fact, it inspired me to get back into the kitchen and cook some cozy comfort foods, like this, and whip up this magical brew: a hot bourbon-orange tea toddy. 

It turned out to be the perfect elixir to weather the "storm." It had the perfect balance of caramel from the bourbon, spice from the fresh ginger, and zingy citrus from the lemon and tea. You literally felt warmed from the inside out. It had some unusual ingredients (I'm talking about you, crushed red pepper), but it turned out to be so delicious that I did feel inspired to get back in the kitchen—to make another batch of this liquid pleasure. 

It will definitely be in high rotation this winter and would be perfect for the holiday season. Because let's be serious; usually the holidays with family is a trip—to the liquor store. This hot toddy helps take the edge off and the chill off, and frankly is a much more civilized way to drink alcohol in front of the kids. People will think you're being all zen by having a nice cup of tea when really it's the only thing keeping you from losing your mind. It IS that time of year.....

Happy Holidays, y'all! 

Hot Bourbon-Orange Tea Toddy
from Southern Living 

1 (3-inc) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup honey
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
3 regular-size orange pekoe tea bags (or black tea)
1/2 cup bourbon

Bring first four ingredients and 1 at of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove pan from heat. Add tea bag; steep 10 min. Remove and discard solids, using strainer or slotted spoon. Whisk in bourbon and serve hot or warm. 
Makes 4 1/2 cups

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